Limited mobility doesn’t have to mean that you can’t do fun stuff like camping. It will not be as easy, but it’s only a matter of getting the right stuff to make it easier. In fact, activities like camping may be good for you physically, emotionally, and socially.
You could have difficulty walking long distances, a wheelchair user, or somewhere in between. Nonetheless, the key is planning well. It will take more effort, but it’s also going to be worth it! Here are tips to help you out:
#1: Choose where you camp wisely
You should figure out what you are comfortable with and how rugged you can go. That said, you should read up on the site you are planning to visit and see if it is wheelchair-friendly.
Parks or camping facilities may not be able to give very detailed information. They try to list their services and indicate whether they are “wheelchair” accessible, but every person’s capabilities and limitations vary. Give them a call and let them know about your situation. Maybe they can answer more questions and provide more information specifically for you.
Here are some things you can consider:
- How’s the bathroom facilities? Is there room for two people in case you need assistance? Is there a bath for those who can’t stand up in the shower?
- What’s the structure of the ground? Is it asphalt, dirt, grass, etc.?
- Are there are handrails on the hiking trails or staircases?
- What facilities are nearby? Are there restaurants, pools, etc.?
- How’s the access road to the lake, pool or other sites?
- If you’re camping in a caravan or RV, then you should ask about what size they accommodate.
- Ask about power hookups. If you need special appliances, then this is critical to ask.
- Can the campground accommodate jumbo tents or camping pods?
#2: Pick your tent, caravan or other camping equipment to suit your needs.
Nowadays, you can find many adaptive camping equipment and RVs on various websites and stores. Tent manufacturers and other outdoor products have also developed “disability-friendly” equipment. You can now find tents with storage for wheelchairs, sleeping compartments and rear-entry windows or doors, etc.
If you don’t need a wheelchair-friendly tent, then you can get a regular tent. Even then, you should choose something that works for different weather conditions. Check out this list of best tents for the rain to help you out. They also have lists of other great camping essentials.
- Sleeping on a cot or collapsable bed can make transfers from wheelchairs easier than sleeping on the ground.
- Try looking for a wheelchair that is suitable for off-road or dirt roads.
- Some campgrounds may have raised-tent beds which make transfers from a wheelchair easier. That said, check with the campgrounds if they offer this.
#3: List all your necessities
Listing what to bring makes packing easier and prevents you from forgetting crucial items. However, if you have limited mobility, try to keep it to a minimum.
- Ensure that you have warm clothing for the night because it can get cold, even during the summer.
- Bring enough food and water.
- Prepare food and water at home where it’s easy to do so, so at camp, you can just heat them, if not eat them right away.
- A headlamp, flashlight, and lantern.
- Hygiene kit
- A pillow that will help you get comfortable
- If you’re not a wheelchair user, you may want to bring a comfy, portable chair so you can rest comfortably.
- Lifevest, especially if you plan on doing water activities.
- A book, an instrument, or music for when you want to relax.
Having a limited mobility or disability should not stop you from enjoying the great outdoors. Fortunately, many national parks and campsites are becoming more and more friendly for all sorts of travellers because they know that everyone should be able to enjoy the beauty of and being with nature.
Even then, you still need to prepare very well for it. Try to get the right equipment and other assistive devices to help you so you can enjoy yourself more.
How did you find this article? Do you have tips or stories from your experiences? We’d love to hear them!
Use the comment section below.
Warren Kuhn is an outdoor and camping enthusiast, always out to seek for the thrill and adrenaline that only nature gives. He even took up survival training to prepare him for the worst-case scenarios while outdoors. With his background, you can learn a lot from him so you can get the most out of your camping trip at TheCampingTrips.
Main photo by Tegan Mierle on Unsplash